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Table of contents
1A: Brief editorial by V. Vale 1B: Six new books from RE/Search available now! 1C: Remembering Ara Jo, Sept 11, 1987 – Dec 2, 2016 1D: RE/Search art show opens Jan 5, 2017 at Classic Cars West in Oakland 1E: Zora Burden interviews Cabaret Voltaire part 2 2: FORTHCOMING EVENTS: Send Us Suggestions!… 3: OUR PAST LIFE: Books we’ve been given, etc. 4: Sponsors (Check ’em out! – they make this newsletter possible!)
1A: Brief editorial by V. Vale
We’ve been doing more traveling than we’re used to, and have discovered it’s possible to get jetlag that seems to last weeks! (The kind where you keep waking up any time from 1AM-5AM and the only way you can go back to sleep is to have a bowl of cereal with banana and hope for the best.) For the first time we worked the New York Art Book Fair (Sept 14-19) and it was a spectacular experience; we met so many super-nice people; for example: fans who somehow managed to get RE/Search books in Chile or Brazil or Russia or… Amazing experience! We thank our host in New York City, avant-garde filmmaker Jacqueline Castel (website: messagefromthetemple.com), Jack Rabid (The Big Takeovermagazine; treated us to lunch), Kiowa Hammons (former intern; now playwright-musician), Seth Robson, Ratso, Gabe Fowler (Desert Island Books), Pierre-Luc Vaillancourt (filmmaker) and others.
Just last night we discovered a tribute to “V. Vale RE/Search” (best we’ve ever gotten) from Vice.com and Nick Gazin (you all are welcome to visit here in S.F. anytime!):
It was amazing to read: “This man and these books were the most real, important, and valuable thing at the NY Art Book Fair. The man is V. Vale, creator of RE/Search. I didn’t expect to meet him.
“While other people at neighboring booths were making bootleg merchandise that ripped off cultures they weren’t a part of, Vale created and steered culture with these books. The Industrial Handbook, the book he’s holding, informed and helped give birth to whatever industrial turned into. Modern Primitives helped spawn the modern body piercing and giant full body tattoo culture. The RE/Search book of Pranks (titled Pranks!) is just one of the best books ever made and will give any oddball or misanthropic recluse hope.
“When I asked VICE on HBO and VICELAND’s Thomas Morton to describe the RE/Search books, he said they were “as essential as the Encyclopedia Britannica or Wikipedia to people of an oddball type. Finding those books was like going to Rocky Horror for the first time and seeing a portal to a much cooler universe than the one you were born into.”
“As a person, V. Vale was enthusiastic and talkative, acting more like a fan than some snob authority. Let this be a lesson to young misanthropes. Terry Gilliam, Genesis P-Orridge, David Lynch, and V. Vale are all really nice, friendly people. Be nice. The gods of being a depressed weirdo are incredibly generous. Create culture and be friendly, don’t just rip it off and be sullen.”
There’s lots more in the article and many photos of colorful individuals…
1B: The latest from RE/Search: Six new books!
Our latest publications are:
BRUCE CONNER: The Afternoon Interviews
by V. Vale. Introduction by Natasha Boas. Cover & super-fast book production by Marian Wallace. 128pp, original photos by Vale. Order here.
If you liked Marcel Duchamp: The Afternoon Interviews, you’ll like this latest RE/Search book rush-released to make it in time for the Oct 29, 2016 Bruce Conner Retrospective at SFMOMA (the show came from MOMA NY, and is on its way to Barcelona, Spain).RE/Search had a book party hosted by Dena Beard at The Lab on Nov 19, and it was a standing-room only event. The evening featured an electronic music premiere by La Mer (aka Marian Wallace) including her tribute 8-minute film “It’s All True” (homage to Bruce Conner) plus a live interview with Marian Wallace, talk by Natasha Boas, chaired by V. Vale. The Lab is a beautiful space which can accommodate virtually any kind of performance imaginable!
In Celebration of J.G. Ballard by V. Vale. Includes Vale’s final interview with Ballard! Order here
New JG Ballard zine in color; printed in England! (includes our last interview, never before in print. Plus color photograph of JGB signed by V. Vale). $20 plus $5 shipping (shipping $10 overseas). Also a few copies: 11×14 JG Ballard Color Poster – write if interested! This zine came about because V. Vale and Marian Wallace were invited to participate in the first “J.G. Ballard Day” at Birmingham City University; Vale did a talk/Q&A, and Marian Wallace showed her film on J.G. Ballard: Aesthetics.
Faye Ballard (one of J.G. Ballard’s two daughters) stood up and gave an unexpected tribute to V. Vale and RE/Search:
“I just want to say: it’s fantastic having you here. It was worth you coming. Your presence here is felt by all of us, even if we’re a very select group. It’s important that you’re here. I also want to say that my father is indebted to you for publishing The Atrocity Exhibition. He always talked about you as the publisher of The Atrocity Exhibition. And he loved your book RE/Search 8/9: JG Ballard. He loved it! You’ve made a major contribution. You supported him when he was alive. It’s very well, now that he’s dead, for us all to say “what a marvelous man, he’s in the canon of literature”. But when you supported him he wasn’t necessarily in the mainstream, he wasn’t in that canon. You gave him a huge amount of support when it was needed. We’re all grateful. I think it’s important to acknowledge you and what you’ve done.” (Wow, Thank You So Much, Faye Ballard!)To order a zine, email V. Vale at firstname.lastname@example.org, or snail-telephone 415-362-1465. Overseas readers who want to order more than one book: please email V. Vale so he can try to figure out the cheapest shipping to your country!
Search For Weird, a comics zine biography of V. Vale by Krusty Wheatfield
We produced a tiny number of a partially-color comics zine by Krusty Wheatfield on V. Vale’s life/biography, titled SEARCH FOR WEIRD (a bio-comic). Excellent drawings! $15 plus $5 shipping ($10 overseas shipping). Order here.
Terminal Punk / Philosophy of Punk, 5th edition by V. Vale. Order here.
Includes interviews, quotes, etc. Why “Punk” is the last philosophy you’ll ever need; it may even help you survive the apocalypse! This may be had for a mere $5 plus $5 shipping ($10 overseas), or come by our office and score your copy! You might also want to score a rare RE/Search T-shirt; we’re already running out of the “small” sizes! Other options are our William S. Burroughs T-shirt, and our Mr. Death T-shirt.
Lost Angels of Los Angeles
12 photos by Danielle Neu, fiction captions by V. Vale.
Special offer for careful readers! We’ll gift a copy of Lost Angels of Los Angeles to the first 3 people to order $30 of books from RE/Search. Be sure to mention you want this offer when you submit the order, or write us!
New Industrial Culture zine + poster in 2 versions!
Artists of the Industrial Scene – Printed in France! Color Zine in French and English! Interviews with Genesis P-Orridge (Throbbing Gristle/ Psychic TV), Mark Pauline (Survival Research Laboratories), Johanna Went, Jim Thirlwell (foetus), Ryoichi Kurokawa, Ilpo Väisänen and Mika Vainio (Pan Sonic), Peter Christopherson (Throbbing Gristle), Graeme Revell (SPK), Naut Humon (Rhythm & Noise), Gerald V. Casale (DEVO). $20 plus $5 ship ($10 overseas)
Color Poster from Paris show! 2 versions! With Monte Cazazza image! Check it out! $20 plus $7 ship; $20 to ship overseas)
1C: Remembering Ara Jo, Sept 11, 1987 – Dec 2, 2016
In Appreciation of Ara Jo
Sept 11, 1987 – Dec 2, 2016
Published on the occasion of East Bay Zine Fest December 10, 2016
Essay and photos by V. Vale
The worst tragedy recently has been the so-called “Ghost Ship” warehouse fire. Almost everybody we know knew somebody who died. We at RE/Search were collaborating on two future event projects with Ara Jo and were hit hard when we got the bad news. The (2) shows are scheduled for Thur Jan 5, at Classic Cars West Gallery in Oakland, and the Zine Panel/Workshop at Downtown Berkeley Public Library, Sun Jan 8, 1:30-3:30pm. Please attend both!
Remembering Ara Christina Jo
Memory is imperfect, but I remember going to the EBABZ four years ago and Ara Jo coming up to me (she already knew “who” I was) and offering to help me get a table (I couldn’t find mine) and then even moving it to a better position! She told me there were free pastries and Peets coffee “over there,” and when I complimented a large EBABZ poster hanging by an entrance, said she had printed it where she worked. She offered to help me print a poster if I wanted one, and immediately gave me her phone number!
It seems that every time I saw her, she was immediately offering to help me in some way. She got me into a zine event with a free table (I was on a panel) at Rock Paper Scissors, 2278 Telegraph Ave, in Oakland. When I showed up she found me a table against the wall, told me about Square (I hadn’t known) and then gave me a Square white plug-in device which allows one to take credit cards on an iPad or smartphone. It took me a while, but finally I got an iPhone of my own (Feb 2016) and it has helped me immensely (I’m late, I know, but…).
At Rock Paper Scissors she offered to let me share her table in the zines or children’s section of the brand-new forthcoming 2015 Bay Area Book Fair in downtown Berkeley. When I showed up Saturday morning, she just gave me the whole table, saying offhandedly, “OH, I didn’t have anything to sell.” But I felt she just wanted to give me the whole table, and was grateful.
At the Last Gasp Christmas Party December 2015, I was surprised to see Ara Jo and thought, “She gets around!” This is an invitation-only fundraiser and everyone required a paper invite to get in the door. There were large white rolls of paper in an area designated for artists to make art on that night and there was a lot already done. As a quick shortcut I asked Ara Jo to show me her favorite art, and sure enough she had isolated the best: artwork so professional it was hard to believe it could have been spontaneously created just an hour or two before. That was fun; we discussed the high points and I got a fast appreciation of her curatorial judgment.
Around October 2016 Ara Jo organized two forthcoming events with Krusty Wheatfield, who had interned with RE/Search starting four years ago, and Marian Wallace and myself. The first was to have a big art-on-the-walls show plus a film showing of Marian Wallace’s films at Classic Cars West Gallery at 411 26th St, Oakland; opening night would be Thursday January 5, 2017 and the show would last a month. Ara Jo said she could do production of large blow-ups for the walls at one of her jobs. She also lined up a zine panel plus zine workshop at the Berkeley Public Library, scheduled for Sunday 1:30-3:30pm, January 8, 2017. As producer, Ara said she could provide supplies and materials to help the zine workshop truly happen. As all of us are seasoned “zinesters”, we knew we could trust each other to make sure everything happened as promised—without unnecessary “meetings” and communications.
Then Friday 11:30pm December 2, 2016 happened—truly a night of infamy that will go down in Bay Area history. I didn’t find out about the “Ghost Ship” fire until Saturday Sept 3 when I was working at the S.F.Center for the Book holiday event. A woman came in and told me the Oakland fire had happened. It wasn’t until that night that I wondered if Ara Jo was all right, and I sent her a brief text: “R U all right?!?” Of course, the text was never answered, and I obsessively spent days searching the Internet until that dreaded moment when I found Ara Jo’s name on the R.I.P. list.
Right now I’m still stuck in the “anger” stage of dealing with Ara Jo’s death. It is so rare to meet people who by their deeds are your friend from Day One, and I wouldn’t be surprised if literally hundreds of people would offer similar testimonies. Ara would have wanted us all to “stay creative” and by her life’s example she proved that friendship is “Deeds, Not Just Words.” This little zine is an attempt to remember her forever. —V. Vale
1D: RE/Search art show opens Jan 5, 2017 at Classic Cars West in Oakland
An art show featuring photos and art by V. Vale and Marian Wallace opens Jan 5, 2017 at Classic Cars West in Oakland and runs for about a month.
It’s not every day you get invited to put on an “art show” (of art on the walls, maybe more). So when Kelsey and Mike “cooked this up” with, of course, Ara Jo’s involvement, my first question was, “What shall I exhibit?” I have lots of photographs taken over many decades.
But something was gnawing at me: since 1979 a certain project had failed to come to fruition: a 9×12″ book titled Search & Destroy Photographs. For reasons discretion forbids me to reveal, this book had never been published on paper. The four photographers included were: Richard Peterson, Ruby Ray, Kamera Zie and Bruce Conner. The $2,500 in the Search & Destroy bank account had been sent to a printer in Michigan, and I had in hand a black-and-white proof, but —
Now, after decades of being stored in a drawer and carefully wrapped to exclude moisture, the Search & Destroy proof has been opened—a moment akin (in my so-called life) to opening up King Tut’s tomb. Sadly, the proof had deteriorated; the inexorable aging process had taken its toll on the physical corpus of the art project. Yet viewed as a work of art in situ, the book seemed more emotive and haunting than ever; the ravages of time lent a kind of irreprochable authenticity and angst to the fading pages.
I thought, “It’s time to at least copy this proof before it totally disappears.” So what if the photographs don’t appear pristine; this is something undiluted and undeniably evocative. The photos have aged just like the bodies of the people in the photographs; nobody and nothing escapes the passage of time. The enigmatic flaws and imperfections are random but real. It is what it is.
Here now is evidence to the world that all this work had been (almost) finalized and had actually occurred, up to a point, and that the $2,500 expenditure was not completely in vain. I feel that it’s valid to put the entire book on the walls of a gallery as long as nothing is for sale. After all, I have the only surviving copy, and imperfect as its physical body is, it possesses a kind of living life that humans are still capable of responding to.
So on the walls at Classic Cars West, in all its imperfect state – with a few pieces of tape stuck here and there, odd cryptic notes jotted in the margins, and other incunabiliac unaccountabilities – is what should have been: Search & Destroy Photographs. I feel that the careers of the photographers may have taken an unforeseen trajectory (in the best sense of the word) had the book come out in 1979 as planned. San Francisco has always been the most underrated creative cauldron in the Western World. I knew that our Punk Rock Scene was the best!
San Francisco has always been “The Gay Bay” and women and Gays were in the forefront of the earliest Punk Rock band and zine creations; just check out the earliest historical artifacts – for the first 2 years of our San Francisco Punk scene (August 1976-November 1978), at least.
It took two years to build up a “hardcore” scene of about 200 committed artists, innovators and social critics (which of course still inspires the Silicon Valley start-up environment) who created tons of songs, concerts, posters, clothing-as-art-to-be-destroyed-that-night, all-night discussions about “what’s wrong with the world,” and other archetypes. All this perched on a Ground Zero that had/has a feminist and gender-tolerant primary foundation.
Search & Destroy Photographs deserves to go down in history as a project worthy of remembrance; its artists deserve much more worldwide recognition than so far attained. This exhibition honors those photographers and the human subjects within the photographs (many of whom have exited planet earth) so that they are not forgotten. And for the conceptual curator and catalyst of this show, Ara Jo, whose body perished in the Oakland Fire “Ghost Ship” tragedy: we hope this show helps perpetuate her memory, too. Ara Jo embodied the enthusiastic, spontaneous spirit of the original mutual-aid black-humor International Punk Rock Cultural Uprising, and deserves a kind of Punk Rock Sainthood, along with the many others depicted in these photographs.
Our thoughts are with Ara Jo and how she jumped in to make it happen as we thank the Classic Cars West Gallery of Oakland. In Ara Jo’s honor we want to take this opportunity to preserve history, culture and spirit striving to be permanently against the status quo hegemony and injustice brought about by increasingly harsh economics. To create a different future, one must have a different past, and we think Punk Rock provides a lasting philosophy to survive an imminent apocalyptic-seeming future. So let’s all work together to create-with-mutual-aid anti-authoritarian culture; knowing that our “Imagination Creates the Future.” And, of course, hard work! —V. Vale
1E: Zora Burden interviews Cabaret Voltaire, Part 2
Zora Burden interviews Cabaret Voltaire (of Zurich, Switzerland), Part 2 (Part 1 appeared in Sept 2016 newsletter). The 100-Year Anniversary of DADA was celebrated in San Francisco by City Lights Bookstore’s Peter Maravelis and friends, as well as in Zurich, Switzerland, and elsewhere. www.dadaworldfair.net
ZORA BURDEN: Why did the Dada movement end when it did?
CABARET VOLTAIRE: Because Tristan Tzara and Andre Breton were in a fight, but also because it was time to end it.
ZB: How would you best describe Dada in a single word?
CV: Dada is about being all these contradictions at the same time and going in between them as well. In this sense, Dada is pivotal.
ZB: It seems that people are familiar with the men of Dada, but not the women who were involved. Will you mention some of them, and the types of work they produced?
CV: There were about 50 women involved in Dada. Last year a book appeared on this topic, and we made a conference in Cabaret Voltaire. Among the most important Dada women are Sophie Taeuber Arp, Hannah Höch, Emmy Hennings, Dada Baroness, Celine Arnauld, Suzanne Perrottet, Suzanne Duchamp, Beatrice Wood, Katherine Dreier, etc. Not all women involved were artists or dancers, they were also collectors and supporters.
ZB: Dada was a revolt against the rigid, creatively-stifling societal norms of the wealthy; a rebellion against the dogmas of religion and the horrors of war. Do you see Dada as being even more relevant today in the U.S.?
CV: Yes, of course—not just the U.S. but the whole Western and Western-dominated world. In 1913, Hugo Ball wrote: “The world and society in 1913 looked like this: life is completely confined and shackled. A kind of economic fatalism prevails; each individual, whether he resists or not, is assigned a specific role and with it, his interests and his character.” A hundred years later, is this not still true? And Hugo Ball goes on to ask: “Is there anywhere a force that is strong enough and above all vital enough to put an end to this state of affairs?”
This force was maybe Dada. And on the same page he ends with: “What is necessary is a league of all men who want to escape from the mechanical world, who seek a way of life opposed to mere utility. Orgiastic devotion to the opposite of everything that is serviceable and useful.”
The problem is that today, even doing nothing has become part of the utilitarian world—we call it downshifting. We organize our free time like our work time—we fill up every free second with yoga and kabbalah, etc. In Asia, people do competitions about doing nothing. We are so practical and utilitarian that we don’t even know how to do nothing. We only have work and free time, but nothing in between.
ZB: Do you see Dada as having been a form of therapeutic catharsis for its participants, because of the violence and oppression they lived with at the time?
CV: One could see it in that way, yes. Maybe we would have to focus more on an artistic and psychological catharsis than a therapeutic one. Especially in Zurich, Switzerland (the spa of the world), the therapeutic factor was (and still is) very high. A lot of the Dadaists said things about Switzerland, like Hugo Ball: Switzerland is a birdcage surrounded by roaring lions. Jean Arp said: We sing, paint, make collages, compose poetry and dance, searching for an elementary art and a new order that can heal human beings from the folly of the era, and create a balance between heaven and hell.
Also, Kurt Schwitters sees Dada as a remedy against the sickness of the time… of a time that has no style. That’s why Dada was a danger for the time, because it would change it and make it less sick.
So, like Arturo Schwarz says about Surrealism, one can say about Dada: They tried to transform themselves to transform the world. Or as Hugo Ball would say: “Self-assertion suggests the art of self-metamorphosis. Magic is the last refuge of individual self-assertion.”
ZB: Who is currently involved in running Cabaret Voltaire and what are their functions at the venue?
CV: Cabaret Voltaire is an association. The president of the association is Juergen Haeulser, a former chairman of Interbrand, and the vice-president is Jean-Pierre Hoby, the former cultural director of the city. They are supported by a board. I, Adrian Christopher Notz, am director and curator of Cabaret Voltaire. Leandro Davies is the business manager, Nora Hauswirth is in charge of communications and also does curatorial works, and Laura Sabel is curatorial assistant with a main focus on the historical dimension. Vincent Clifford and Timothy Wickert run the bar and Judith Peters runs the shop.
ZB: Who are some of its current artists?
CV: Current artists are the ones we had in the 165 Celebration Days – Obsession Dada jubilee project:
Una Szeemann, Lu Cafausu, Giovanni Morbin, Stefano Benini, Kerim Seiler, Dario Bonucelli, Pastor Leumund, Aldo Mozzini & Oppy de Bernardo, Garrett Nelson, Domenico Bilari, James Stephen Wright, Thomas Hirschhorn, Marcel Janco), Carlos Amorales, Michele Robecci, Gianni Motti, Shana Lutker, Nedko Solakov, Ermanno Cristini, Pilar Albarracin, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Rafael Abdala & Jessica Goes, Bazon Brock, Carl Michael von Hauswolff & Leif Elggren, Carsten Höller, Edvard Graham Lewis, Dorit Chrysler, Carsten Nicolai, Michael Esposito, Ken Montgomery & Luna Montgomery, Scott Konzelmann, Dave Phillips, Tara Bhattacharya, Marja-Leena Sillanpäa, Thierry Charollais, Klara Lewis, Achim Mohne, John Duncan, Francisco Meirino, Rick Reed, Lary Seven, Jonathan Meese and many others.
ZB: Will you mention some of the extensions of the venue, like the Dada store? What would a person find within the store?
CV: In the store one can find mainly books on contemporary art and Dada. You can also find some design and art editions, some T-shirts and the Dada Absinthe.
ZB: For those who feel that Dada was nonsensical, and who are dismissive of this movement, can you explain the importance of Dada and its intentional contradictions?
CV: Contradictions in Dada are here to show that the whole world—at least the world of human beings—is full of contradictions and absurdities. In this sense, the nonsense of Dada is just showing the non-sense of our society. Our society today is even more nonsensical than it was 100 years ago!
ZB: Will you name some films or documentaries on Dada that have truly captured the essence of the group?
CV: None. Most just got caught in the funny, absurd part of Dada. Except the films by Dadaists, like “Entre-act” by Rene Clair.
ZB: What earlier movements do you think were similar to Dada?
CV: In visual art and a bit in poetry Dada took over ideas from Futurism, Russian Cubo-futurism, expressionism and cubism.
ZB: Will you talk about how Alfred Jarry’s works and concepts contributed to the creation of Dada?
CV: Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi was read in Cabaret Voltaire, before they actually found the name Dada.
ZB: In current society who or what do you feel embodies the Ubu Roi?
CV: Of course, one could say Donald Trump–even the name somehow sounds similar… At least he is as obscene as Ubu. Maybe it is more Recep Erdoğan. He is also quite obscene and even has the power to kill people. Putin has the power, but is not as obscene.
ZB: How important was Pataphysics to the Dadaists?
CV: Dadaists practice Pataphysics, even if they don’t mention it too much.
ZB: What are some important aspects of Dada’s history that you learned about while working with Cabaret Voltaire? Is there any of its history that has been unknown or suppressed that you’d like to mention?
CV: Well, I only started learning about Dada’s history when I began working in Cabaret Voltaire. All the history of Dada has important aspects. Right now, with the 165 Holidays project, I got to know a lot about the 165 Dadaists in person, which is very interesting. I would say that this year my main discovery concerned the importance of women in Dada… the female logic that one can find in Dada. Like Nadja Tolokonnikowa, Trudeau and Obama, I guess I can say I am a feminist. If you look at how Kurdish female fighters are trained and fight male Isis members, feminism just like Dada makes a lot more sense! [end]
2: Forthcoming events (San Francisco unless otherwise noted)
() Bruce Conner: It’s All True – San Francisco Museum of Modern Art through Jan 22, 2017. Plan a day there! Make time for lunch and then return to see more! Lots to see: movies, assemblages, punk photos, sculptures, early paintings, collages … Don’t go for just an hour (!) The films are all playing in their own small theaters within the museum and just that will keep you busy for hours.
() $ Thu Dec 29 Henry Rollins at Herbst Theatre. henryrollins.com/tour (quite a few shows are already sold out way in advance!)
() Support the Roxie Theater: great programming EVERY NIGHT (our opinion). http://www.roxie.com Also support the Castro Theater! A beautiful Film Palace!
() S.F. EVENTS to Check Out Regularly: Long Now Foundation. Hypnodrome/Thrill Peddlars. Goethe Institute. The List (Punk Rock). Dorkbot. Bottom of the Hill. INdependent. Thee Parkside. The Chapel. Brick & Mortar. ATA Gallery (last “underground” film place?). The Lab under Dena Beard. Southern Exposure Gallery under Patricia Maloney. Mule Gallery.
[Editor’s note: Our intern Andrew is reading Bruce Sterling’s new novel, Pirate Utopia, and is loving it!]
3. realvalueproductions.com a San Francisco music production company creates innovative/original music for YOUR films/videos: CD’s, mp3 downloads, studio session work, soundtracks by ‘Sound Behavior Troupe’—experienced Bay Area musicians (x1/31/17)